By: Deano Peppers
To the establishment the Sex pistols epitomised the anarchistic ideals of the disenfranchised youth. The hardcore punk fraternity however see them as posers, a boy band created by executives that was moulded into a machine of scripted acts of rebellion and controversy. Although the chaos that ensued from these events with the characters involved ultimately assured it was a combination that couldn’t be held together for very long, The legacy left behind no matter which side of the fence you reside was huge, their image will forever be associated as the true face of punk.
Sad Vacation is the third film in Danny Garcia’s career focusing on this area of the music world. After covering the Clash (the Rise and fall of the Clash) and Johnny Thunders (Looking for Johnny) previously this time he covers punks most notorious couple, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.
The film gives a brief history lesson of the pairs lives growing up and respective careers, but focuses mostly on their last few weeks alive… Spoilers…. Sorry, it’s well documented their relationship is the Romeo and Juliet with safety pins and hair gel. Surely a story people will have seen glossed over in any history of music, but this does go a little deeper into their relationship. Sometimes it feels as if Nancy is painted a little badly as the domineering, manipulative gold digger next to Sid’s little boy led astray, but it’s just how people saw it. Maybe through a haze of time, drink and drugs the brush she’s tarred with got even bigger than it actually was.
Throughout the film we’re introduced to a colourful bunch of characters present throughout their lives and deaths. Not big names within the music industry but fringe characters from the world they moved in whilst trying to make it big in the US. While most documentaries would suffer from a lack of recognizable names this, and the constantly changing camera quality feels right. Artists, roadies and lesser known guys from the scene fill in the blanks better than any big name butter shilling “sell outs” ever could. It’s a story from the bottom looking up, and crisp production would kill any punk credibility it seeks to gain from its subject.
As the story comes to it’s tragic end a few theories are presented as to what occurred, but the fingers can’t be pointed in any direction with definative proof. It does leave you feeling a little empty without a conclusion, but nothing can be done. One thing is for sure though, if he was knowingly guilty of the crime I wouldn’t have felt like having a pogo to the end credits theme.
Trufully I think having this review on a nice clean and tidy website is wrong, it should be typed out on a typewriter with keys that stick together, cut out and glued to sheets of A4. Xeroxed a few dozen times then folded and hand stapled one by one with hands covered in blisters and paper cuts, to be put on the shelf at the local record store where it’ll be thumbed over by teenagers looking for new ways to piss off their parents and stick it to the man.
It’s not perfect, it’s punk rock.